Tag Archives: Andrew Hilditch

A New Era Begins

Finally…..finally Cricket Australia has listened to all the calls for heads to roll in the higher echelons of the selection table. With the Argus review reaching its conclusions on Thursday, it has been reported that head selector Andrew Hilditch, Greg Chappell and current coach Tim Nielsen have all no longer got their jobs. Continue reading

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Cricket Australia Contracts

Cricket Australia yesterday released the names of those players they have offered contracts to for the 2011-2012 season. Andrew Hilditch, current chairman of selectors, updated the world on the latest inclusions to the contract listing as well as a couple of big names that have had their contracts torn up. In a period where there is an expectation of CA to prepare for the future and also quickly remedy the increasing problem of performing in Test match cricket, the public needed to see that Hilditch and CA were prepared to make changes. Well, they certainly haven’t disappointed!

In terms of exclusions Simon Katich, James Hopes, Andrew McDonald, Clint McKay, Marcus North, Shaun Tait and Adam Voges are the unlucky players to miss out on a new contract.

Patrick Cummins, Xavier Doherty, John Hastings, David Hussey, Usman Khawaja, Jason Krejza and James Pattinson are the players who have been granted a contract within CA. This makes the list of players who have a contract look a little something like this –

Doug Bollinger, Michael Clarke, Patrick Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Callum Ferguson, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, John Hastings, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, Phillip Hughes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Jason Krejza, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, Shane Watson, Cameron White.

The call to not renew Simon Katich’s contract is a tough call that won’t be accepted by a large number of people. Katich has been one of the most consistent batsmen that Australia has had over the last few years, being near the top of runs scored per year each year since his re-introduction into the Australia team in 2008. While a large number of people will be unhappy with his axing, it does show that CA and the selection panel may finally be making some changes within the team and the outlook they have moving forward. As for Marcus North being dropped, it was always going to happen and as opposed to the way everyone could be feeling about Katich, most people would probably be glad North won’t be around.

A couple, other than Katich, who could consider themselves unlucky are Andrew McDonald and Clint McKay. McDonald performed well when he got his opportunity, a very slim one at that, and is in some great form at the moment over in England. Clint McKay was a great bowler in the ODI’s for Australia and possibly with some more chances to be around the team, could have become a better Test bowler.

I am really glad to see the inclusions of Patrick Cummins and James Pattinson, both are very exciting young fast bowlers and if started in the Test team now we could see them grow into top-line international bowlers. Put one, or both, of those young guns in the side along with two of Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson or Doug Bollinger and we can be considered looking to future. Hopefully the selectors chosoe to go with that sort of a setup seeing as that is what the side has needed for the last couple of years, an injection of youth that can play for 10+ years and perform.

The contracts given to Nathan Hauritz, Xavier Doherty and Jason Krejza still show that the selectors are unsure which spinner to choose in the team. Although most people think he is crap, Hauritz has got to be the first choice for the selectors as he has done the most when given his chances. We need to stop believing that any spinner can equal the heights reached by Shane Warne and take 7 odd wickets a game. If a spinner gets 2 wickets an innings I believe they have done their job. Krejza was given his chance in the World Cup and failed badly, rarely taking a wicket and leaking runs at an alarming rate. Doherty performed well in Australia for the ODI’s and perhaps deserves his chance again, however as I said, I believe that all depends on the fitness of Hauritz.

My makeup for the Australian Test team would be as follows with the current contracts –

Shaun Marsh
Shane Watson
Ricky Ponting
Michael Clarke
Michael Hussey
Brad Haddin
Steve Smith
Nathan Hauritz
Mitchell Johnson
Peter Siddle
James Pattinson

With Usman Khawaja, Patrick Cummins and Doug Bollinger to be rotated into the team due to injuries or the strange “rest” policy CA seems to have going on.

Two players that I’m disappointed haven’t gotten a contract, because then we would really be looking to the future, are Mitchell Marsh and Steve O’Keefe. Both bright prospects and should be given the opportunity to be 12th men in a Test series to get a feel for what it’s like around the international team.

MV

In with the old, out with the new…

Australian cricket selectors have once again confused the Australian cricketing public with an astonishing announcement of the 2011 World Cup squad. There has been backlash on talk back radio, with cricket fans all over Australia, unable to understand the mindset of such selections. It seems, that once again, if you’re not in the group of players liked by the national selectors, then you’re a longshot to make the squad, regardless of form.

We have seen many examples of this over the years, including Dean Jones in the early 90s, making hundred after hundred for Victoria (including a triple century), and now with Brad Hodge doing the same, and these players are unable to make the team, when clearly they are in the top echelon of, not just Australian cricketers, but world cricketers.

Xavier Doherty finds himself extremely unlucky, missing out of a place in the top 15 players, when he has just played a One Day International (ODI) at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) against England. So he can make the current team, but cannot make the best 15 players in the country? Instead he is replaced by test discard, Nathan Hauritz, who hasn’t played for Australia since his poor performances in India in October last year and then against Sri Lanka in November. Oddly enough, the World Cup is to be staged on the subcontinent this year! When you’re playing in that area of the world, it is a well-known fact that you need a left arm spinner. Instead, selectors have gone with a guy who averaged 65 in the Indian test series, 100 in the Indian ODI series, and didn’t take a wicket in the Sri Lankan series! Hauritz’s recent injury, dislocating his shoulder in his comeback game, has quite possibly given Doherty another chance.

Another player originally overlooked, is Shaun Marsh. An amazing, left-handed opening batsman for Western Australia, has been is fine form this season. Yet, he has only been given a chance to play, when Michael Hussey tore his hamstring off the bone. Marsh made the most of his first opportunity, smashing 110 against England in game 2 of the 7 match ODI series. But if Hussey is fit for the World Cup, where does this leave Marsh?

A third injury in the Hobart ODI for Australia was to South Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait. Tait’s injury prone career continues to hamper him, this time straining his groin whilst bowling. Time and time again, Tait has shown that his body cannot handle anything more than Twenty 20 cricket. And with every injury, it creates an opportunity. So perhaps Peter Siddle will be the man to replace Tait. The only Australian bowler in the Ashes to show any sort of mental strength, fight, grit and determination. Is there something I’m missing? With Brett Lee in, it just proves that they’re going for experience over youth. Australia will never improve if it continues to have this attitude.

Game 3 of the ODI series against England has 2 players who are not named in the 15 man squad for the World Cup. This issue would never occur if it wasn’t for the ICC regulations of having to name, firstly, a 30 man squad late last year, and now, a 15 man squad , 5 weeks before the tournament begins! What is the need for a squad? Obviously injuries and form are going to change the team from game to game. It is a rare thing nowadays to see an unchanged lineup from one game to the next.

And then we have Aaron Finch. This man has been in good form for both Victoria and Australia, yet, the selectors hands are tied now, because they didn’t even pick him in the 30 man squad, so they couldn’t pick him in the 15! I don’t know how he could not have made the top 30 players in Australia! But, as we have come to realise, we should not be surprised by any selections with the Australian selectors.

Finally, there’s Brad Hodge. One of the best batsman in the world. He has proven, time and time again, that he can consistently perform in state cricket, yet once again, he has been overlooked. In every other selection for this squad, age and experience has been the winning criteria, but with Hodge, it seems as though there is a hidden reason for his omission. Something that nobody is prepared to talk about. There have been rumours of physical altercations between Hodge and Ponting, but probably only the selectors know the real reason for what is probably the biggest mistake in all of the selections. Surely Hodge is better than Ponting, Clarke and Hussey in the last year?

For Australia to improve, we must rebuild from the bottom. Start again and go through a few years of losing. Now is the perfect time, with Test series against the lower ranked nations coming up after the World Cup. It will be pointless playing the likes of Ponting, Hussey, Lee, Haddin and Clarke in these series. The experience of chosing young players will be invaluable. Khawaja, Hughes, Finch, White, Ferguson, Marsh and Pattison, just to name a few.

It really is time for something to be done, as far as the selection panel goes, in Australian cricket. Andrew Hilditch has made some terrible errors and needs to be sacked! His selections have killed off any chance of Australia winning the world cup. I’m sure we’ll make the quarter finals, and perhaps be lucky with a win or 2 to make the Semi or even the Final. But it would be a miracle if Australia were to go all the way and win their 4th World Cup in a row. A couple of weeks ago I would’ve said we were a chance, but now, for myself, and millions of other Australians, the dream is over. Yes, I have given up before the tournament has even begun, but I think my thoughts are justified. Politics in cricket are not just in India! I dream of one day seeing cricket teams where the best XI are playing against the best XI, but I fear that this will never happen, because there is too much greed in the world.

JP